One of the most popular and collected of the Japanese porcelains is Imari. Imari is in fact a European name for export porcelain produced in the town of Arita in the Hizen province of Japan. It was shipped through the nearby port of Imari from the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century. Pre-export period Imari is called Shoki-Imari.
There are two distinct styles of Arita or Imari porcelain.
Firstly there is the rare and highly sought after Kakiemon porcelain. It is sparsely decorated predominantly in coral red on a very fine white glaze. Highlight colours include yellow, green and aubergine Kakiemon wares are of a consistently high standard and command very high prices
In contrast, the more commonly found Imari in the west is called brocaded Imari or Kinrande Imari, and is usually richly decorated with flowers, foliage and figures. These pieces have an overall floral decoration reminiscent of a rich silk textile, and typical colours are underglaze cobalt blue and iron red, which is highlighted with colours such as gold, green, aubergine and yellow. more...There is a great variation in quality, ranging from quite crude though decorative wares to very finely painted wares.
Items exported to the West included garnitures of vases, plates, chargers, figures as well as utilitarian wares. Due to its popularity and success, Imari was widely imitated both in China and the West. English factories who produced Imari or "Japan" patterns as they were sometimes known included, Bow, Derby, Minton, Spode, Worcester and Mason's. European factories included Meissen, Chantilly and Delft.
Japanese porcelain bowl and cover, decorated with floral blue and white interior, surrounded by a scene of figures and sailing ships in the European manner, in Imari palette accented in black and green, a/f, diameter 13.5 cm
A large and impressive 19th century Japanese Imari floor vase, the squat ovoid body with a long cylindrical neck flaring at the top, the exterior with all over traditional panelled designs including dragons, exotic birds in complex landscapes and tradition
A Japanese Imari covered vase, gilt and polychrome Enamels, 19th/20th century, large and impressive Imari covered vase of baluster form with very fine polychrome enamel work, with background of tortoise shell and traditional wave design, the main cartouche
An impressive covered Japanese floor vase in the Imari palette, Meiji period, 19th century, large and impressive Imari floor vase of baluster form decorated in underglaze blue and overglaze iron red and polychrome HO-o birds, landscapes and spaced by furth
A Japanese Imari bottle vase with cover, Meiji period, late 19th century, the vase with prunus blossom branches and flowers to the body below a scalloped collar with alternate blue and iron red panels, floral decoration to the neck, with a flat topped cove
A Japanese Arita dish, late 17th century, underglaze blue floral scene to interior, continuous sweet pea design to exterior, six character underglaze blue mark and ring to base, finely potted with gadrooned rim, 21 cm diameter
A large Japanese Arita blue and white dish, Edo period, decorated in Kraak style, the centre with pomegranate and peony sprays issuing from a vase, the rim with alternating panels of peony, pomegranate, kiku and other flowers, diameter 42 cm
A large Japanese Arita blue and white dish, Edo period, decorated in Kraak style with pomegranate and finger citron branches to the centre surrounded by panels of peonies and auspicious symbols, diameter 42 cm
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